The solar car project runs as a course at Jönköping School of Engineering, and is a unique teaching environment that challenges and develops students' abilities. It includes all parts of a start-up, from the recruitment of new members to an operational organisation for marketing, technology development, production and the participation in the World Solar Challenge. The purpose of the project is to create tomorrow's engineers and marketers, but also to increase the interest among young people to apply for higher education. Additionally, a large part of the project is to facilitate an opportunity to develop and show the use of renewable energy. Solar cars are extremely efficient vehicles, we drive 3000 km on an amount of energy, which is less than that found in 4 liters of gasoline.
The start of the solar car project took place in November 2010 when Magnus visited the world champions Nuna in Delft, the Netherlands. The result was that he saw that it is possible to design and build solar cars in Jönköping, there is no need for students in spacesuits or special rooms. In 2011, Magnus and Dag worked to ensure that it was possible to carry out the project and create the structure for the work and the solar car sheds. It was a completely new type of project for Jönköping School of Engineering, especially when it comes to size as it spans over several years and the actual result is a complete organization with a working product. In most student projects, the result is often that the group is satisfied if a model works during the presentation, but in the Solar Car project, everything must work during an entire competition.
In the spring of 2012, Magnus and Dag founded JU Solar Team in connection with the start of the first solar car course. In 2013, the first solar car "Magic" was built by the team. It had a very low air resistance but was sensitive to crosswinds and was, therefore, pushed off the road by a storm surge. Since then, a brand new car has been built every two years and all cars have passed the challenge of driving 3021 km on clean solar energy. After this, the project has been developed in several different ways. In the first years, there were no workplaces, workshop premises or a basic budget. Other changes are that the competition requirements change after each race to increase safety and reduce driving speeds. Examples are that the competition organizers have chosen to reduce the solar cell area, change the number of wheels (Both four and three wheels are now allowed), banned environmentally hazardous solar panels, etc. Each car has become more optimized with more technology. The solar car "Axelent" has 10 self-developed processor cards that control the systems in the car and communicate with the driver and the accompanying cars.
The competition attracts about 40 teams from all over the world. Of these, only about 10 teams are able to drive all the way on solar energy. JU Solar Team is the only Scandinavian team that has managed to run all the way on solar energy with the placements: place 20 (2013), place 15 (2015), place 8 (2017) and place 10 (2019).
Our vision is that JU Solar Team wants to be a part of the development of the fuel of the future with help of the biggest renewable source of nature –THE SUN. To accomplish this vision, we work with three keywords: Sustainability, Innovation and Stronger Together.
Sustainability is a very important subject for us, and we continuously work towards a more sustainable tomorrow. We have decided to work with the three Ps’: People, Planet and Profit. Environmental sustainability is the foundation for this project and the long-term goal for JU Solar Team is a future filled with solar energy. However, social sustainability is something that is close to heart. We continuously strive to work with youths, due to them being our future and we what to encourage them to think from an innovative and sustainable perspective. We would also like to motivate and inspire women to pursue a future in tech. There is in fact more women in JU Solar Team this year than it has ever been before, but we would like this number to increase to the next team.